What Are the Requirements to Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Getting injured at work can impact your life in a number of ways. In addition to the physical pain and mental and emotional challenges of a serious injury, limitations to your ability to earn a living can result in financial strain.
If you have been injured on the job or develop a work-related illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, approval of your claim is not guaranteed, and you may encounter a number of difficulties getting the full benefits you deserve.
A New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can review your claim and advise you of your rights. Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi in Fort Lee today for a free consultation.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers’ Compensation administers benefits to workers who get injured or become sick as a result of their employment. To claim workers’ compensation benefits, your employer must first carry the insurance coverage required by New Jersey law. The majority of employers in the state are required to have workers’ compensation insurance.
If your employer is properly insured, the following questions can help you determine whether or not you have a viable workers’ compensation claim:
1. Are You Covered by New Jersey Workers’ Compensation?
Just as most employers have to carry workers’ compensation coverage, most employees in New Jersey are likewise covered by their employer’s insurance policy. However, there are some exceptions.
The following individuals may not be covered by the state workers’ compensation program:
- Sole business owners with no employees
- Partners in limited liability companies
- Independent contractors
- Volunteers and unpaid interns
Employees of the federal government and workers in certain industries (such as railroad and maritime workers) have recourse to federal compensation programs if they are injured or become sick as a result of their work. Therefore, these workers are also not covered by the New Jersey workers’ comp system.
If you have questions about whether or not you are covered by workers’ compensation in New Jersey, please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today.
2. Is Your Injury or Illness Job-Related?
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, your condition must be related to your job. Workers’ compensation covers a wide range of injuries and disorders, including:
- Acute injuries suffered in workplace accidents (such as construction accidents, injuries caused by heavy equipment, etc.)
- Chronic conditions resulting from repetitive stress or strain (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, stress fractures, rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis, and others)
- Illnesses you develop as a result of your work (this may include diseases of the lungs, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and other systems; cancers related to harmful materials; and toxic exposure)
One of the most important steps to take after any workplace accident is to notify your employer as soon as possible. This creates a record of the accident that will support your claim for benefits.
The same principle applies if you are diagnosed with an illness or chronic condition that your doctor says may be related to your job. You should promptly notify your employer to lay the groundwork for your workers’ compensation claim.
3. Have You Sought Medical Treatment?
In the event of a medical emergency at work, you can visit the nearest hospital for emergency care. However, in other situations, your employer and/or the insurance carrier has the right to specify which provider or providers to see for treatment of your injury or illness.
Getting proper medical care from authorized providers is crucial for your health and well-being. Furthermore, your medical records will be evaluated by the insurance company to assess your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?
The benefits you may be entitled to in a workers’ compensation claim depend on the nature of your losses and impairment. You may be eligible for the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical benefits covering reasonably necessary expenses for treatment, hospitalization, and prescription medications
- Temporary total disability benefits, if you are unable to work (disabled) for more than 7 days; benefits are calculated at 70 percent of your average wages per week, subject to a state-mandated maximum
- Permanent partial benefits, calculated as a percentage of projected losses based on the body part or bodily system affected
- Permanent total benefits; as with temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits pay 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage
Dependent family members of a deceased worker may be eligible for death benefits. These benefits include a maximum payment of $3,500 toward funeral expenses, as well as 70 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage. The weekly payments benefit is subject to a maximum amount that is established each year.
It is important to note that workers compensation is a “no-fault” system. By receiving benefits, you generally forfeit the right to sue your employer for damages stemming from a workplace injury or illness. However, you may be able to file a claim against one or more negligent third parties (such as the manufacturer of defective equipment, a careless driver who causes a work zone accident, or a negligent property owner) if they caused or contributed to the harm you suffered on the job.
Contact a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have extensive experience with workers’ compensation law in New Jersey. We recognize the challenges injured workers and their families face, and we are committed to pursuing the full benefits in your claim.
Our lawyers thoroughly investigate workplace accidents to identify all of the factors that resulted in a client’s injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you and your loved ones may be entitled to damages beyond those covered by workers’ compensation.
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Please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today for a free consultation. Our workers’ compensation attorneys serve clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey.